Russia says about 500 of its troops are taking part in military drills in Tajikistan amid fears of instability across its Central Asian allies after the Taliban gained control of much of Afghanistan, including its northern areas.
"Tactical maneuvers with weapons training exercises have started with the participation of motorized rifle troops from the Russian Federation's military base No. 201 located in Tajikistan," the Central Military District's press service said on August 30 in a statement, adding that the exercises were taking place in the mountainous Sambuli military training field.
All of the servicemen involved in the exercise come from the Russian military base in Tajikistan, it added.
The statement comes three days after spokesman of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said the alliance plans to hold military exercises in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan due to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.
CSTO members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Central Asians states bordering Afghanistan are concerned about security threats emanating from the war-torn country and the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to pour over the border.
The group has said several thousand troops will be involved in another set of exercises, the Rubezh (Frontier) exercises, in Kyrgyzstan, which will be conducted on September 7-9.
Three more sets of military maneuvers will be held close to the Tajik-Afghan border in October, with a fourth scheduled for November.
On August 10, Russia completed joint military exercises with Tajik and Uzbek troops near the border with Afghanistan, which followed smaller Russian-Uzbek maneuvers along the Uzbek-Afghan border.
The Taliban has sought to reassure neighboring countries and Russia that it poses no threat since gaining control over much of Afghanistan’s territory in recent weeks, including Kabul, the capital.
Russia, which has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, has vowed to defend Moscow's allies in Central Asia against any security threat from Afghanistan.
Hundreds Of Russian Troops Take Part In Military Drills In Tajikistan